Project Phases

Phase 1 – Keele University Trial

In October 2019, we began live testing of a blend of fossil gas and hydrogen on part of the private gas network at Keele University campus, Staffordshire. During the 18-month trial, 100 homes and 30 university buildings received the blended gas. This concluded in Spring 2021.

The trial used a blended hydrogen content of up to 20% by volume, injected into fossil gas. Laboratory tests were carried out on a range of gas appliances and extensive research on the effects of hydrogen on the different materials found in the gas network and the appliances.

This trial was permitted by the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) who were satisfied that the blend of hydrogen gas was as safe as the gas we all currently use.

Laboratory testing was conducted on a range of gas appliances and extensive research on the effects of hydrogen blends on a variety of materials found in the gas network, and in any appliances in homes or businesses. The results of this confirmed that blended hydrogen up to 20% by volume does not interact negatively with existing materials used within infrastructure like network pipes or in homes or businesses such as boilers, hobs, cookers, or meters.

The hydrogen production and blending units, along with other supporting equipment installed at Keele were the first of their kind. Their performance was monitored closely and carefully evaluated. You can read the report outcomes here.

Keele University

Why Keele University?
Keele University was chosen for this first trial because it has:

  • its own private gas network
  • a campus population similar in size to a small town
  • an international reputation for research excellence
  • a commitment to developing a carbon-free future through its Smart Energy Network Demonstrator Project (SEND)

Social science research – consumer perceptions of blended hydrogen
You can read more about the work Keele University has done to understand what people think about their experience HyDeploy trials on-campus, and in Winlaton, in their social sciences report here.

You can also listen to a podcast here on peoples’ experiences of receiving blended hydrogen during the HyDeploy trials in their homes.

Phase 2 – Winlaton Trial

The success of HyDeploy at Keele University paved the way for a larger trial in Winlaton, near Gateshead. Running from August 2021 for 10 months, until June 2022. The trial was operated by Northern Gas Networks, and supplied 668 houses, a school, several small businesses, and a church with a 20% hydrogen blend. Gateshead Council was very supportive of the trial in their local area.

A rigorous approach to safety has been adopted and the project team has the approval of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). All private homes in the trial were offered free gas safe checks beforehand, and throughout the trial the hydrogen element was supplied at no cost to the consumer.

The Winlaton trial has supplied more vital evidence to support the safety of blending hydrogen into the gas network across the UK. This stage of the project has demonstrated that hydrogen can be used safely in the public gas network and the evidence from these trials will be used to help the UK Government form policies about the role of hydrogen in blending for the future of gas in our networks.

A penny for your thoughts?
If you’re a resident in Winlaton and received the hydrogen blend please click this link to complete our survey. It only takes a few minutes and for every survey completed we’ll donate £10 to West Lane Primary School. Your views are really valuable and will form part of our evidence which will be submitted to Government to help inform a decision about the future of blending in the UK’s gas network.

Winlaton image 3

Why Winlaton?
Winlaton is located close to Northern Gas Network’s site at Low Thornley, near Gateshead. Winlaton itself is a closed public gas network and is a good example of a typical UK gas network. This makes Winlaton an ideal community to receive blended gas and to act as a model for rollout in future locations. Other exciting hydrogen projects are underway in the area, including the UK’s first Hydrogen Home – a house supplied entirely with 100% hydrogen and running hydrogen-ready appliances.

Phase 3 – Enabling Government Policy

The UK Government has committed to sanctioning the use of hydrogen blending across the gas distribution network, if a positive economic and safety case can be made by the end of 2023.

Building upon the successful Keele University and Winlaton trials, HyDeploy is working with industry to complete the safety evidence needed to allow the UK Government to make this decision.

We have already successfully demonstrated blending up to 20% volume of hydrogen with fossil gas into two live industrial environments at Pilkington Glass and Unilever to produce sheets of ‘float’ glass and consumer products such as Persil and TRESemmé.

We are also working with Lucideon on testing out how HyDeploy can be utilised within the ceramics industry. Lucideon is an independent, international materials technology company that focuses on innovation, sustainability and quality assurance of materials.

As part of this work, Lucideon has invested in a state-of-the-art ceramics kiln that has been designed to run on a hydrogen/fossil gas blend. We are working together to investigate safety considerations of firing various ceramic wares, including building materials such as bricks and roofing tiles.

The following video explains this ground-breaking programme and shows the latest results.

You can find out more about Lucideon here

Other industrial and commercial companies that HyDeploy is working with on this next phase include:

  • Duomo
  • Limpsfield Burners
  • Gas Fired Products UK Ltd (SpaceRay)
  • Bosch
  • SAACKE Combustion services
  • Mantec Technical Ceramics Limited
  • Eastham Refinery Limited
  • Ideal Heating

HyDeploy is carrying out further testing and research which will require assessment by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to ultimately enable hydrogen blending to become business-as-usual for gas.